Rangers solidify blueline by signing Brendan Smith

Getty Images

Getty Images

According to TSN Insider Bob McKenzie, UFA defenseman Brendan Smith is closing in on a four-year deal with a $4.35 million AAV with the Rangers. Smith was acquired by the Rangers at the deadline last season for a second and third round pick from the Detroit Red Wings and brought a nice snarl and edge to the Rangers blueline. He formed a nice tandem with Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei toward the end of the regular season and playoffs.

With Smith now back in the fold, the Skjei and Smith pairing will remain intact for seasons to come. The term and money are both great and GM Jeff Gorton has pulled off another great move this summer by securing a key component of what is sure to be a revamped Rangers blueline come this fall. With McDonagh, Skjei and now Smith fully slated for top four blueline minutes, the Rangers have three good workhorses to anchor their defense.

What’s next?

This move leaves the Rangers with about $17 million in cap space, a great amount of money to have as free agency rolls around. And with Kevin Klein possibly retiring, that $17 million could become $20 million, leaving Jeff Gorton just a bit more money to improve his team. The possible signing of Kevin Shattenkirk is not out of the question, even with interest in him from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New Jersey Devils. Gorton will also use some of that money to sign Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast to new deals. Another center is not out of the question either.

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